Neighbors for Clean Air provides technical and legal assistance to communities to improve air quality at the neighborhood level. A key component of the organization's work is to educate people in Oregon about the risks and sources associated with toxic air contaminents to help drive efficient action to reduce exposure.
Neighbors of Clean Air was initially founded in 2009 by parents and neighbors in Portland Oregon to advocate for cleaner air in Northwest Portland after reading USA Today’s story “The Smokestack Effect.” USA Today investigated the impacts of industrial sources of hazardous air pollutants on schools. It was based on a study, conducted by researchers and scientists from University of Massachusetts – Amherst, Johns Hopkins, and the University of Maryland, and showed many schools in the Portland Metro area ranked in the bottom 10% of all schools in the nation. Chapman Elementary, located in Northwest Portland, ranked in the bottom 2% of schools around the nation for the impact due to industrial sources of hazardous air pollution.
Neighbors for Clean Air’s first campaign was focused on the most visible industrial polluter, ESCO Corporation, and the organization successfully convinced the company to significantly reduce the hazardous air pollution coming into the neighborhood.
Since the historic agreement with ESCO, Neighbors for Clean Air has expanded its mission and now works with communities throughout Oregon. The organization works hard to reduce the public health impacts by reducing toxic air contaminants from all sources in the state: industrial, trucks and automobiles, construction equipment and lawn equipment, to name just a few.
Thanks to dedicated community advocacy, in the last three years alone, since a science based ground breaking innovative study using moss to measure and identify air pollution, Oregon has experienced unprecedented progress in the work to improve air quality. These three years have reversed decades of neglect and ignorance in the face of significant air quality concerns in our neighborhoods. Since that study broke in Feb 2016, Oregon has overhauled its Air permitting program to be health-based, has finally implemented a program to eliminate dirty diesel school buses in the state, has seen the largest increase in Oregon DEQ’s air budget ever, and our state became only the 2nd in the country to establish in use Diesel engine standards